Communities

Writing
Writing
Codidact Meta
Codidact Meta
The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors
Photography & Video
Photography & Video
Scientific Speculation
Scientific Speculation
Cooking
Cooking
Electrical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Judaism
Judaism
Languages & Linguistics
Languages & Linguistics
Software Development
Software Development
Mathematics
Mathematics
Christianity
Christianity
Code Golf
Code Golf
Music
Music
Physics
Physics
Linux Systems
Linux Systems
Power Users
Power Users
Tabletop RPGs
Tabletop RPGs
Notifications
Mark all as read
Q&A

How can fulsome constitute "a case of ironic understatement"?

+0
−2

Pretend that you're Devil's Advocate. 1. How can you possibly contend that fulsome is "a case of ironic understatement"?

  1. What's ironic?

  2. What's fulsome understating?

When I first read this etymology, the notion of redundancy crossed my mind for 2 reasons.

I. If something's FULL (e.g. a cup of water), then it's physically impossible to add anything (let alone -SOM "to a considerable degree") to it.

II. Fullness implies the notion of "to a considerable degree". If you own a full tank of petrol, then you have petrol to a considerate degree!

fulsome (adj.)

mid-13c., "abundant, plentiful," Middle English compound of ful "full" (see full (adj.)) + -som "to a considerable degree" (see -some (1)). Perhaps a case of ironic understatement. Sense extended to "plump, well-fed" (mid-14c.), then "arousing disgust" (similar to the feeling of having over-eaten), late 14c. Via the sense of "causing nausea" it came to be used of language, "offensive to taste or good manners" (early 15c.); especially "excessively flattering" (1660s). Since the 1960s, however, it commonly has been used in its original, favorable sense, especially in fulsome praise.

Why does this post require moderator attention?
You might want to add some details to your flag.
Why should this post be closed?

1 comment thread

x-post https://www.reddit.com/r/englishteachers/comments/u41vlp/how_can_fulsome_constitute_a_case_of_... (1 comment)

0 answers

Sign up to answer this question »